Understanding Learning Styles in to Improve Student Learning
The modernization of living has led to drastic changes, improvements, and evaluations of the capabilities and systematic processes of social sectors. Education, as an institution, is not exempted from this governing trend as more and more teaching strategies, adapted from the use of technology and based on various levels of instruction—written, oral, computer-based, etc.—are being implemented in all levels of education. A significant factor used in teaching is a learning style, defined as the “educational conditions under which a student is most likely to learn” (Stewart and Felicetti, 1992). The two most well-known learning styles are auditory and visual; however, more learning styles are continuously emerging nowadays due to the continuous development of technology and its greater role in the educational sector.
Learning styles are used widely around the world
At present, learning styles are used widely around the world to implement more specific and specialized teaching strategies. For example, Wallace (1995) conducted a study on Filipino students and discovered significant behaviors that complement their learning styles. It was found that Filipino study habits include taking short breaks every once in a while, as well as multitasking while studying (Wallace, 1995). The study also concluded that Filipinos are visual and kinesthetic learners, preferring to process information while seeing it. The fact that the study has been made decades ago implies that even when technology was not yet booming, learning styles have already been influential in maximizing the academic outcomes of students.
In support of this study, significant differences and advantages have been found to arise from the individual usage of learning styles. The sole use of auditory learning allows learners to exercise increased capacity to utilize direct auditory and tactile attentional resources to various spatial locations, enabling them to ignore irrelevant distractions (Occelli, Spence, and Zampini, 2012). A notable finding in the study was the brain’s ability to switch its visual-stimuli handling area to an aid in processing auditory stimuli. On the other hand, it was also found that good visual cognition can promote good habits of reading, writing, and learning (Ho, Chung, and Lin, 2012). In this research, it was further emphasized that a learning system, such as an augmented reality-type of instruction, can help improve cognition. Meanwhile, Zeamer and Fox Tree (2013) found that in terms of auditory learning, language, non-linguistic noises, and particular types of sound can be a distractor in learning. This result implies that the environment or setting of providing instruction also plays a role in the overall learning outcome of an individual.
Regardless of the generally vast support that the consideration of learning styles in teaching has garnered, some researchers are still adamant about the effects of such towards academic improvement. A study by Rogowsky, Calhoun, and Tallal (2014) emphasized that the concept of “providing instruction based on a student’s learning style improves learning” has just been a hypothesis with no empirical proof. Based on the results of their study, the authors concluded that utilizing a preferred learning style in teaching does not have a significant effect on learning. This finding is consistent with the earlier study of Kratzit and Arbuthnott (2006) which also concluded that preferred learning styles could not be correlated with learning, especially when other factors and considerations towards teaching and learning exist.
In present society, there have been initiatives to increase the utilization of technology in maximizing student learning. Alongside the consideration of learning styles, teachers now use a method called “blended learning”, a teaching strategy that extends beyond classroom teaching and allows students to participate in online class activities. For instance, teachers may opt to distribute class materials and readings through an online platform that is specifically dedicated to a particular class. Online educational platforms do exist nowadays, and they provide educators from all academic levels to increase class participation and student motivation through the use of technology.
Ho, P., Chung, S., & Lin, Y. (2012). Influences on Children’s Visual Cognition Capabilities through Playing ‘Intelligent Matrix’ Developed by the Augmented Virtual Reality Technology. International Journal of Humanities and Arts Computing, 6.1(2), 160-171.
Occelli, B., Spence, C., & Zampini, M. (2012). Auditory, Tactile, and Audiotactile Information Processing Following Visual Deprivation. Psychological Bulletin, 139(1), 189-212.
Rogowsky, B., Calhoun, B., & Tallal, P. (2014). Matching Learning Style to Instructional Method: Effects on Comprehension. Journal of Educational Psychology, 107(1), 64-78.
Wallace, J. (1995). Learning Styles in the Philippines. Education, 115(4).
Zeamer, C. & Fox Tree, J. E. (2013). The Process of Auditory Distraction: Disrupted Attention and Impaired Recall in a Simulated Lecture Environment. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 39(5), 1463-1472.